NASCAR Notes: The Votes Are In And The Winner Is Three Segments And 75 Laps
By Dave Grayson
The Sprint Unlimited will receive the green flag Saturday night to officially kick off Speed Weeks at the Daytona International Speedway. This special invitational event will be the first official sign that says NASCAR 2013 has arrived.
The Sprint Unlimited is open to drivers who won a pole position on qualifying day during the 2012 season. Invitations were also extended to past winners of the Sprint Unlimited who attempted to qualify for at least one race last year.
Making the 2013 edition of the Sprint Unlimited special is the decision to allow the fans to vote on the race’s format and procedures. It marks the very first time in NASCAR’s 65 year history that the fans have been offered this extraordinary level of input in the sport.
The first of these fan votes concluded at 11:59 pm eastern time on Wednesday night. With a majority vote of 55 percent, the fans decided that the Sprint Unlimited will be ran in three segments of 30, 25 and 20 laps.
There will be no traditional qualifying to determine the line up for Saturday night’s event. That also will be voted on by the fans. Those present at Daytona, from 930 am to 4 pm, can visit special fan centers to vote on the race line up. The fans will have three line up options to choose from:
1.) The line up will be determined by the number of most driver career wins, from the most to the least.
2.) The line up will be based on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup driver points standings.
3.) The line up will be based on the order of when the drivers earned their pole positions in 2012. The pole winner at Daytona last February would start first, the pole winner from the Homestead-Miami Speedway last November would start last.
There are two additional competitive elements, on the official NASCAR ballot, that will also be decided by the fans from all over the country. The fans will have until the green flag drops to start the race to vote for the type of pit stop each team will be required to make following the completion of the 30 lap first segment. The fans will be asked to consider three different options:
1.) A required four tire pit stop.
2.) A required two tire pit stop.
3.) No stop at all.
Next, fans will have until the start of the race’s second segment to vote on the number of cars that will be eliminated following the completion of the 25 lap second segment. The choices are:
1.) Zero. 2.) Two 3.) Four 4.) Six.
Vote may be cast on these two competition categories on NASCAR’s new office mobile app: NASCAR Mobile ’13 or at NASCAR Dot Com/SprintUnlimited. All votes made through the NASCAR Mobile ’13 app will count twice.
The group of eligible drivers, who won poles last year for the Sprint Unlimited features nearly all of today’s popular stars including: Greg Biffle, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon, Martin Truex Jr, Tony Stewart, A J Allmendinger, Aric Almirola, Joey Logano, Marcos Ambrose, Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya. Past race champions eligible for this year’s race includes: Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Bill Elliott, Terry Labonte and Ken Schrader.
So, who’s going to win the 2013 Sprint Unlimited Saturday night? “The Las Vegas Insider”, one of the premiere sports book agencies in the country, seems to have four possible winner’s in mind. Here’s their thoughts on how the drivers will fare in this race:
8 to 1 odds: Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick.
10 to 1: Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon.
12 to 1: Kasey Kahne, Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle.
15 to 1: Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr.
20 to 1: Kurt Busch and Mark Martin.
25 to 1: Juan Pablo Montoya.
30 to 1: All other drivers in the field.
35 to 1: A J Allmendinger.
Yet another interesting aspect to this race is the fact that it will mark the official debut of NASCAR’s new Gen-6 race cars under official racing conditions. You can bet there’s going to a lot of crew chiefs, car chiefs, engineers and team owners who will be monitoring this race very carefully.
Most of all, this race is going to be about hard charging, restrictor plate racing, competition for the major bragging rights. Traditionally, this event has a tendency to create some very exciting finishes. At the conclusion of last year’s event, Kurt Busch led Tony Stewart to the checkers by a mere margin of victory of .013 seconds. It remains as the closest finish in the event’s history.